Heart disease is a serious issue in the Wide bay region, placing third worst in Qld.
Heart disease is a serious issue in the Wide bay region, placing third worst in Qld. Nastco, Thinkstock

Wide Bay among Qld's worst for heart health

RATING third worst in Queensland for heart-related hospital admissions - and fifth worst in Australia - by a recent Heart Foundation study, Wide Bay residents are being encouraged to keep an eye on their heart health.

According to the data, the region's health rate would be exceptionally dire without Gympie, which sits much lower than the regional average.

While this might seem like we are doing well, HeartCare Partners cardiologist Dr Julie Humphries advised caution, saying it could be because people in the area not seeking help at all, rather than being generally healthier. She said there were a number of social factors in the region which were known to have an impact on heart disease rates.

"We do know that people with a poorer socio-economic status have more disease. So obviously they're not things that you can change in a hurry.”

Dr Humphries said the high rates for Wide Bay were caused by several pervasive health issues in the area, in spite of the quality healthcare residents had access to.

"It tends to come down to the fact that there are a higher proportion of people in the area who have increased rates of hypertension, increased rates of high cholesterol... a very high proportion of people are what we would call 'insufficiently active' as per the Heart Foundation guidelines,” she said.

She highlighted that people in the Wide Bay were well above the state average for being insufficiently active, already an appalling statistic itself.

"People aren't moving enough; their blood pressure is too high and their cholesterol is too high, and all of those things compound into being at risk of developing problems with the heart including heart attack, but also heart failure in the long-term.

"Everywhere else in the state is also not doing very well, but the Wide Bay tends to be doing worse than average.”

Dr Humphries stressed it was important people take steps to keep from becoming a statistic by remaining active, controlling their cholesterol levels, and ensuring their blood pressure remains normal. She also said it was not a problem dependent on age.

"All of these numbers that have been provided are all age adjusted... this is basically in all patients over the age of 18 years.”

Gympie Times


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